09 January 2013

Beyond the “clutches of Quebec” #nlpoli

Another perspective on Muskrat Falls, via the Ottawa Citizen, and a previous attempt to run electrical power from Labrador through Nova Scotia:

Pickersgill took the matter to the R.B. Bryce, the cautious deputy minister of finance, who identified several problems in a memo to his minister. First, the federal government could only provide a loan at per cent as Ottawa had done for transmission lines between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, amortized over 40 years. Second, the federal government had to avoid the impression that Ottawa was conspiring with Smallwood to outflank Quebec.

When Smallwood discussed the matter with Pearson and finance minister Walter Gordon in Ottawa in February 1965, they offered no help and advised him to work and resolve his differences with Lesage. Ottawa’s decision narrowed Newfoundland’s choice to a single option: negotiate with Quebec or leave Churchill Falls undeveloped.